Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Paradise found for croc lovers

Flip Prior, The West Australian, July 11, 2012, 5:51 am

A patch of paradise is for sale in historic Wyndham, with 80ha of lush tropical gardens and ponds at the base of the Bastion Range up for grabs for $1.1 million.

There's just one problem - you'll have to share the space with some of WA's biggest and angriest saltwater crocodiles.

Tayler Cavanagh, daughter of Wyndham Crocodile Farm owner Paul Cavanagh, admitted to being a bit sick of the sight of salties and was relieved the park was on the market after working there seven days a week for years.

Armed only with a broom and a pair of wellies, the 19-year-old hoses out stinky crocodile pens every three days, brushing away any juveniles that try to attack her as she drains their pools and removes any rotten meat.

When baby crocs destined for handbags start hatching, she checks the incubators three times a day and helps them out of their shells.

"Anyone can do it - it's fairly easy as long as you're smart and you know your boundaries with crocodiles," she said.

However, she has had a "fair few close calls" over the years.

"When I hatch babies, they attack me - I used to have scars all over my fingers," Ms Cavanagh said.

The farm's crocodile park, which is open to tourists, has about 65 male and female "breeders".

And there are about 1000 juveniles and 600 babies in the farm's hatcheries.

The crocodile park is a popular tourist attraction, deriving substantial income during the high season from April to November with its daily educational and feeding tour.

About 1000 crocodiles a year are also farmed and sold into Darwin for about $250 each, bound for the European leather market.'It's fairly easy as long as you're smart and you know your boundaries with crocodiles.'" *Tayler Cavanagh *Wyndham Crocodile Farm

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